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Standard User ft247
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 12:32:23
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Handover exchanges


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The concept of handover exchanges, which as I understand it is where connections move from the Openreach FTTP/FTTC infrastructure to the ISP's network, is not well understood. I'm writing this post both to help others, and to invite any errors to be corrected.

As I understand it, not every telephone exchange contains headend equipment for FTTP/FTTC (OLT etc.). In some cases the fibre from these services terminates at a handover exchange further away, which will allow consolidation of exchanges and eventual sale of some sites once copper is retired.

In the LLU days we had lists of which exchanges had each ISP's DSLAMs in them, but there doesn't seem to be any equivalent resource now. I'm reading here about cases where FTTP ISPs offer differing product availability due to the presence (or not) of enough 10G cablelinks (an Openreach term for the link to the ISP's own network) in each handover exchange.

BT Wholesale is a case I don't understand well - I appreciate that BTW will move the traffic from the handover exchange further, but I'm not sure whether they directly provide routing to the Internet to customers, and it's simply a rebadged BT service, or whether the traffic is just backhauled by BTW to an ISP datacentre.

I spent a bit of time looking at information on central and South London exchanges to see what I could find out. There aren't as many being lined up for closure as I would have thought. Also, I can imagine there is significant cost in maintaining a backhaul network from so many handover points.

Exchanges appearing to have a different handover point:
Shepherd's Bush -> Hammersmith
Bayswater, Kensington Gardens, Chelsea, Sloane, Nine Elms, Battersea -> South Kensington (it must be busy in there)
Paddington, North Paddington -> Marylebone
Monument -> Faraday
Wapping -> Bishopsgate
Southwark, New Cross -> Bermondsey
Vauxhall -> Walworth
Tulse Hill -> Gipsy Hill
Putney -> Parsons Green
Westminster -> Whitehall

Exchanges appearing to contain their own handover point:
Fulham
Bloomsbury
Stepney Green
Poplar
Greenwich
Deptford
Lee Green
Rushey Green
Brixton
Wandsworth
Wimbledon
Balham (seems odd, maybe some ECI here? FTTP-only appears limited to 330/50, where copper is also present 1000/220 is OK)
Merton Park
Mitcham
Sutton Cheam
Wallington
Croydon
Thornton Heath
West Wickham
Beckenham
Sydenham
Beulah Hill

Unknown status - usually no FTTP-only sites at present:
Mayfair
Earls Court
Soho
Covent Garden
Holborn
Fleet
Wood Street
Moorgate
Canary Wharf
Belgravia
Southbank (presumed its own - what is Southbank RS?)
South Clapham
Norbury
Streatham
Dulwich
North Cheam
Addiscombe
Catford

Edited by ft247 (Fri 08-Jan-21 12:38:25)

Standard User _Icaras_
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:15:45
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
There will be lots of closures, but only a small amount have been announced for now.

I imagine there will be some conflict between BT and Openreach also, if it were just up to BT a heck of a lot more buildings would close.

Icaras
Standard User dect
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:17:37
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
Wood Street exchange went a long time ago (80's if I remember correctly), all copper main cables were diverted to Faraday via a bunker under the old exchange building. Faraday exchange is/was a big exchange so if it does have a fibre headend I suspect Wood Street fibre will go back there as well.


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Standard User ft247
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:21:58
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: _Icaras_] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by _Icaras_:
if it were just up to BT a heck of a lot more buildings would close.


Sounds about right, someone has almost certainly tried to figure out if the network can be operated without any buildings other than a shiny management office.
Standard User heathrow
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:36:41
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
IS there a way of working out if an exchange is a handover point or not?
Standard User dect
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:41:56
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: heathrow] [link to this post]
 
The best way is to find some new build properties in your exchange area with ONLY Openreach fttp (no copper service), then use the DSL checker to see what exchange they are served from, that will show you what is the handover exchange for your exchange area.
Standard User ft247
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:42:28
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: dect] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by dect:
Wood Street exchange went a long time ago (80's if I remember correctly), all copper main cables were diverted to Faraday via a bunker under the old exchange building.


I just read about this. Apparently the new building was constructed around the bunker - sounds like a good engineering challenge.
Standard User ft247
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:43:50
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: dect] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by dect:
The best way is to find some new build properties in your exchange area with ONLY Openreach fttp (no copper service), then use the DSL checker to see what exchange they are served from, that will show you what is the handover exchange for your exchange area.


That's what I did. I was surprised the list isn't out in the public domain yet.
Standard User dect
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 13:48:48
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ft247:
That's what I did. I was surprised the list isn't out in the public domain yet.
Are there new build properties in the Monument exchange area with fttp only?
Standard User j0hn83
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 14:06:19
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ft247:
BT Wholesale is a case I don't understand well - I appreciate that BTW will move the traffic from the handover exchange further, but I'm not sure whether they directly provide routing to the Internet to customers, and it's simply a rebadged BT service, or whether the traffic is just backhauled by BTW to an ISP datacentre.


They backhaul traffic to the ISP.
It's very different from a rebadged BT service.
Just the same as using Talktalk Business backhaul is very different from a Talktalk residential connection.

My understanding (some bits may not be 100% accurate)...

The GEA cablelinks connect between the Layer 2 Switch (L2S) and the CP's equipment in the exchange.
Multiple DSLAM's and multiple FTTP PON's connect to each OLT and multiple OLT's can connect to an L2S.

There are many reasons why ISP's may only have 1Gb cablelinks.
The main reason being that a 10Gb cablelink used to cost around £10k.
They now cost around £1k.

To add to that there are now FTTP only L2S so if a provider had a GEA cablelink connected to a L2S for FTTC then this cannot be used for any properties connected to an FTTP only L2S.

My exchange (ESDAL) is a Handover exchange.
It has very little FTTP at present. It's almost exclusively new builds and retro new build work.
This means it isn't worth it for some backhaul providers to buy a 10Gb GEA cablelink yet.

As the FTTP coverage grows then so will the number of providers with 10Gb cablelinks in place.

In the LLU days we had lists of which exchanges had each ISP's DSLAMs in them, but there doesn't seem to be any equivalent resource now.


If you're referring to Samknows it has never, ever, been fully accurate for my exchange.
It is now just plain wrong for my exchange.
Standard User ft247
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 14:21:41
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: dect] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by dect:
Are there new build properties in the Monument exchange area with fttp only?


Yes - EC3R 6AL.
Standard User ft247
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 14:37:21
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: j0hn83] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by j0hn83:
My exchange (ESDAL) is a Handover exchange.
It has very little FTTP at present. It's almost exclusively new builds and retro new build work.
This means it isn't worth it for some backhaul providers to buy a 10Gb GEA cablelink yet.


This is what I thought, the market is likely to be BTw heavy until areas gain critical mass. I presume what Vodafone are doing with Birmingham/Bristol/Liverpool is using their own network to the handover point, which is the reason for the limited footprint.

Thanks for clearing up how BTw works, I wasn't sure.
Standard User j0hn83
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 14:40:39
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
Vodafone are a little different.

They also sell Gigafast FTTP over the CityFibre network.
They have taken the deliberate decision to only sell OpenReach FTTP in specific areas, areas where CityFibre FTTP isn't available.
Standard User kitcat
(experienced) Fri 08-Jan-21 14:51:20
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
ft247

Some of the exchanges you list have already had the buildings closed and ALL equipment is in the new exchange ( Some for 15 years plus!)

Faraday has Fleet and Wood Street in already. ( Plus at least one other)

Poplar has Canary Wharf in it.

S Kensington has Chelsea and at least 2 others.

Earls Court I think went into West Ken.

Etc.

There is a limit on how many buildings BT can close as most are not owned by it but by Trillium. They can only 'hand back' a set value within each period as was set when they did the Sale and Leaseback agreement years ago. So they would still have to pay rent even if they were not using, subject of course to if Trillium got a better offer! which is very possible in Central London but unlikely outside the major cities.
Standard User dect
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 15:01:33
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: kitcat] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by kitcat:
Faraday has Fleet and Wood Street in already. ( Plus at least one other)
Possibly Moorgate as well?
Standard User witchunt
(experienced) Fri 08-Jan-21 15:24:52
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
If they start forcing people out the business on mass there may be a lot of info suddenly made available. I guess they are prepared for that.
Standard User t_r_davies
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 16:42:01
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: j0hn83] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by j0hn83:
My exchange (ESDAL) is a Handover exchange.


Been lurking here for many years and always thought you're a very knowledgeable chap j0hn83. It now turns out you're really close to me, I'm ESPCK just a few miles away to the west smile
Standard User _Icaras_
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 17:19:28
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: kitcat] [link to this post]
 
Yes but very much worth it to hand back parts or all of buildings. Whether they are owned or not.

As you say most of BT’s buildings are not owned by BT.

Icaras
Standard User heathrow
(newbie) Fri 08-Jan-21 18:27:21
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: dect] [link to this post]
 
Thanks. That works really well.

New builds to my exchange, Colindale, show Colindale as the exchange. Not a surprise.

Down in Surrey, new builds to Horley show Crawley as the exchange - also not a surprise.

All searches though raise this:

ONT exists with active service. No spare ports are available. Network is at capacity so a new ONT cannot be ordered.



Looks as if fibre is wildly popular.
Standard User j0hn83
(fountain of knowledge) Fri 08-Jan-21 22:30:41
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: t_r_davies] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by t_r_davies:
In reply to a post by j0hn83:
My exchange (ESDAL) is a Handover exchange.


Been lurking here for many years and always thought you're a very knowledgeable chap j0hn83. It now turns out you're really close to me, I'm ESPCK just a few miles away to the west smile


Hello from the Dalkeith area!

Lots of #penisnow up your way. It's pretty deep here.

Edited by j0hn83 (Fri 08-Jan-21 22:33:53)

Standard User ian72
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 11-Jan-21 12:07:34
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: j0hn83] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by j0hn83:
Lots of #penisnow up your way. It's pretty deep here.
Can you put some hyphens in that hash tag as I am really struggling to work out what it should say wink
Standard User Whitehall11
(learned) Mon 11-Jan-21 14:24:32
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
I'd like to propose a slight anomely to what to the Handover logic - We have a Holiday home property in Winster, Derbyshire (Rural Peak District), which contains a small rural exchange (small building with one boiler pipe above it). Winster from what i can tell has FTTC and serves FTTP to some properties in the surrounding area (following the ducts).

Have Openreach installed Fibre OLT's in some of these smaller / tiny exchanges then? The exchange doesn't seem to offer any form of LLU such as Talktalk or Sky.

The nearest big exchange to Winster is Darley Dale which is a LLU + Fibre Enabled exchange, but i can't see that the Fibre Connections in Winster bypass the rural exchange and go all the way to Darley Dale, if LLU services are not offered?
Standard User dect
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 11-Jan-21 14:40:22
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: Whitehall11] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by Whitehall11:
I'd like to propose a slight anomely to what to the Handover logic - We have a Holiday home property in Winster, Derbyshire (Rural Peak District), which contains a small rural exchange (small building with one boiler pipe above it). Winster from what i can tell has FTTC and serves FTTP to some properties in the surrounding area (following the ducts).

Have Openreach installed Fibre OLT's in some of these smaller / tiny exchanges then? The exchange doesn't seem to offer any form of LLU such as Talktalk or Sky.

The nearest big exchange to Winster is Darley Dale which is a LLU + Fibre Enabled exchange, but i can't see that the Fibre Connections in Winster bypass the rural exchange and go all the way to Darley Dale, if LLU services are not offered?
Winster exchange only has 4 PCP/DSLAMs so I will be amazed if the fibres serving those DSLAMS or any fttp terminates in that exchange.
Standard User witchunt
(experienced) Mon 11-Jan-21 15:07:43
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: Whitehall11] [link to this post]
 
The headend for Winster and Darley Dale is in Matlock exchange.
Standard User ft247
(newbie) Mon 11-Jan-21 18:09:51
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: witchunt] [link to this post]
 
Matlock to Winster by road is under 10km, even with the lowest grade GPON kit this would seem to be achievable.

I wonder what class of optics Openreach are using and how conservative they're being with power budgets.
Standard User Whitehall11
(learned) Mon 11-Jan-21 18:28:33
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: witchunt] [link to this post]
 
Ah that's interesting and would make sense - Does that mean that the Fibre does amalgamate at Winster and then travels down to Darley Dale and then on to Matlock?
Standard User witchunt
(experienced) Mon 11-Jan-21 19:30:00
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: Whitehall11] [link to this post]
 
They dont amalgamate fibre like that.. They are likely to be on separate fibre spines.
Standard User APTMAN
(member) Mon 11-Jan-21 20:22:15
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
The Headend exchange is 10 miles (16kl) away that will feed our village once it's lit up, my ADSL2 and Phone comes from our local exchange 2.5 miles (4lk).
Standard User Whitehall11
(learned) Tue 12-Jan-21 22:11:21
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: witchunt] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by witchunt:
They dont amalgamate fibre like that.. They are likely to be on separate fibre spines.


Thanks.

My only confusion is on the provider selection when it comes to the Winster & Darely Dale home exchanges.

Our home property is on an FTTC connection to that exchange (which i now understand to have it's head end in Matlock, not Darley Dale which provides our copper phone service), with TalkTalk as the provider.

The Winster property cannot get TalkTalk services as it says 'Out Of Our Network' when i enquire about the address, but this is confusing if the OLT for the Winster FTTC is in the same headend as my home property?
Standard User j0hn83
(fountain of knowledge) Tue 12-Jan-21 22:19:46
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: Whitehall11] [link to this post]
 
Talktalk need to be in the copper exchange to provide a voice service.
Only the fibre goes to the head end.

Winster exchange doesn't appear to have Talktalk.
Darley Dale does.
Standard User candlerb
(fountain of knowledge) Wed 13-Jan-21 08:43:24
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: j0hn83] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by j0hn83:
Talktalk need to be in the copper exchange to provide a voice service.
Only the fibre goes to the head end.


Talktalk's residential FTTP service has no voice component.

"Faster Fibre 150" = G.fast (copper, with voice)
"Faster Fibre 150 without voice" = FTTP (without voice)
"Faster Fibre 500 without voice" (ditto)

Ref: https://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/8899-talktalk-fi...

However, it's possible their ordering systems are broken, and refuse orders from FTTP properties just because they are not in LLU footprint. If you want the service, try ordering over the phone. Ask for "Future Fibre" which is their marketing name for Openreach FTTP - as distinct from all the other so-called "Fibre" services they offer.
Standard User Pheasant
(committed) Sat 23-Jan-21 13:45:05
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Re: Handover exchanges


[re: ft247] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by ft247:
I wonder what class of optics Openreach are using and how conservative they're being with power budgets.

My 2 year old Huawei ONT (HG8110H) in Suffolk is a Class B+ device...good for 20km and 32 splits in the PON according to the specs for Class B+

My Broadband Speed Test
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